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My favorite recipes are the ones that can easily be gluten free (or not) will little modification.  I find these types of meals more accessible and well-liked.  A friend just recently found out she has Celiac Disease and became gluten free. Chatting with her about favorite cookbooks, resources, and meal ideas got me nostalgic for those early days when the impossible-seeming transition loomed ahead.  Even though it’s been years for us, it’s still fun to discover something new.  She shared this recipe after trying it out with approving results, so I decided to make it for my family.  Hearing we were making Chinese food, my older daughter asked to make lo mein, and my younger one wanted to make her famous honey carrots.  Who can turn down kids who want to help in the kitchen?

Chinese Food Night

The blogger designed her honey chicken recipe as gluten free (cornstarch rather than flour, and gluten-free soy sauce) but it tasted no different than regular Chinese food, and would appeal to anyone who enjoys this type of dish.  My husband was home to clean and cube the chicken (my least favorite part). Meanwhile, my older daughter prepared the glaze for the chicken, and then worked on lo mein.  Our favorite lo mein recipe comes from the original Gluten Free on a Shoestring cookbook.  For both of the dishes above, we substitute coconut aminos for half of the soy sauce, since it has less sodium and we try to consume minimal soy.  Finally, my little one worked on the honey carrots, which come from her favorite kids’ cookbook.  Other than my helping cut the carrots into coins using a sharp knife, this is one she was able to do independently. They come out well, and she’s always pleased to have made the dish herself.

This dinner took a bit of time to prepare. None of it is particularly hard, but the chicken has to be browned and sauteed in its glaze, the lo mein sauce needs to cook down, and carrots have to be steamed. Fortunately, all four of us were in the kitchen and working together. Everything tasted great, so it was worth the wait.  More importantly, there’s such value to opportunities for kids to cook along with their parents, and we had lots of fun.  Give your feedback on the honey chicken, or share your favorite family dinner ideas with our readers.

These absolutely delicious scones come from gluten-free goddess Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free On a Shoestring (who has a recipe for just about everything).  They’re amazing, and one of favorite breakfast treats.  Paleo eating has become quite popular lately, whether for health reasons or just to try something new.  We like to mix it up in the mornings, focusing on protein and fruit, and sometimes, we skip the grains.  This recipe is wonderful because it doesn’t taste simply like almond flour (many Paleo recipes do) thanks to the addition of the tapioca flour.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Paleo Scones

I like to share our favorite recipes with the gluten-free community, whether they are my own or not.  There are so many recipes out there, but sometimes when we try them, they leave something to be desired.  With the cost of gluten-free ingredients (sometimes five times more than traditional ingredients) it’s always nice to come upon a recipe that comes with a tried-and-true guarantee.  What’s fabulous about this recipe is that I didn’t need to alter the ingredients one single bit, which isn’t always the case.  It comes gluten-free, dairy-free, and ready to go.  My girls wanted to make these for my husband’s birthday a few weeks back, but it fell on a weekday, and he leaves at 7:30 am.  I found them easy to prep in advance before bed, so that in the morning I only had to combine wet and dry ingredients, shape, and pop into the oven.  Having a special morning breakfast in your back pocket is enough to earn you the title of Supermom (cape sold separately).

If you have a easy Paleo breakfast recipe that you’d like to share, please do so below.  To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy Spring!

We’re going to a New Year’s Eve party tonight, and my daughter asked if she could make cookies to bring.  As we got out our usual recipe, we remembered that one of the friends that will be there has a nut allergy.  I recalled another recipe we had enjoyed before, so we looked it up and were happy to see it’d be safe.  If you have someone avoiding gluten, soy, and nuts, these are a great alternative. They do call for both shortening and butter, but the substitution of dairy-free butter would likely yield cookies which are just as delicious.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

This recipe is described as being similar to the Archway Iced Oatmeal Cookie that you may remember growing up.  I have fond memories of Archway Cookies.  Quite truthfully, I didn’t find these cookies to be that similar, but they are amazing cookies nonetheless.  I found that the chocolate chips made them sweet enough that an icing was not needed, so we skipped it this time.  They’re fairly easy to make- my almost-eight-year old was able to do everything herself other than blend in the butter and shortening into the dough.  There are lots of opportunities within this recipe for kids to help out– and before you know it, you may have little ones who can do the whole thing alone!  Let young kids start by pouring and mixing, and graduate to reading the recipe, measuring ingredients, scooping dough onto cookie sheets, and learning how to use the oven and timer.

Make a batch of these cookies for someone special, and enjoy some quality time baking with your little ones.  Eventually, they’ll even learn to clean up after themselves, I promise!

To see what’s happening in our kitchen, or to share what’s going on in yours, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy New Year to all of our Hudson Valley Parent readers.  See you next year!




Thanksgiving is a great time to be gluten-free.  Or not.  Most of the stars of the day (turkey, vegetables, potatoes) are naturally gluten free and require little to no alterations in their purest state.  Trickier are the baked goods– stuffing, rolls, gravy, pies.  Whether you’re hosting or bringing along a side dish to share, it’s important to have a recipe you trust so you can enjoy the favorites of the day.  I’ll share some of our family recipes; feel free to share yours as well!


We make cornbread and turn it into stuffing with a chicken apple sausage.  I shared my cornbread recipe last year, and you can find it here.

Stuffing II


My mom started the tradition years ago of a carrot herb biscuit that everyone  loves, and I was fortunate to find a similar gluten free recipe so that I could continue the tradition.  The basic recipe begins here, then I substitute four ounces of shredded carrots for the cheese, and add one teaspoon each of dried basil and parsley flakes to the flour.  For a simpler, more traditional roll, we have enjoyed this very easy recipe.



Fortunately, the filling for our favorite pies (pumpkin, apple, and pecan) were gluten-free, but needed a special crust.  I regularly thank Gluten Free on a Shoestring for her pie crust recipe and video tutorial, as it gave me the courage to attempt not just pie crust, but gluten-free pie crust.  It’s perfect for both sweet and savory pies, simply by adding, or omitting, sugar as directed.

Pumpkin pie


For a delicious, creamy mashed potato, you’ll find a great recipe here, with tips on how to achieve potatoey perfection here.


Share your family favorites with our readers.  To see what’s happening in our kitchen, or to share what’s going on in yours, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy Thanksgiving!

On hot summer day, it’s often too hot to justify doing much baking.  I tend to make an exception when oodles of zucchini or berries are upon us and waiting to be baked into muffins, breads, and pies, but we’ve been eating our produce too quickly to have any left over for baking.  One other fun exception is popovers.  We discovered them a few years ago and were delighted with their versatility.. soft and puffy for breakfast, welcomed as a side dish for dinner… popovers!  Although not my recipe, I share it with you here as another gluten-free alternative that I have successfully made and recommend.

The popovers pictured above came from this recipe.  Be sure to use a good gluten-free flour blend, with xanthan gum, so that they “pop” nicely.  While a special popover pan is probably fun to use, they were made in a good, old-fashioned 12-cup muffin tin.  They went wonderfully with breakfast on this particular day, but they’ve accompanied dinner, soup, even a picnic on occasion.

To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook. Peruse past blogs and keep current with new blogs at

I don’t think my Italian grandma would approve, but I decided to try Gluten Free on a Shoestring’s Slow Cooker meatball recipe. Growing up, meatballs were lovingly fried on the stove, then simmered for three hours in a large pot full of Grandma’s “gravy” (homemade pasta sauce). Three hours of cooking could almost qualify as slow-cooked, but the family recipe predates crockpots for sure. When I was in grad-school, my grandma passed her recipe down to me, which we eventually updated so that the meatballs could be baked instead of fried. It’s quicker, it’s healthier, and I can make double or triple batches to freeze. However, sometimes you’re going to be out for the day and won’t have the time to bake tray after tray of meatballs. Enter, the crockpot!


Slow Cooker Meatballs

Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring isn’t a crockpot fan, which she admits often. She recently began experimenting with it, and shared her meatball recipe. Wanting to use up some ground turkey waiting in the freezer and facing a busy week, I put these in our dinner rotation. My girls happened to be in  the kitchen as I was getting out the ingredients, and asked if they could measure everything out and form the meatballs. Why not?  Later we ran errands and came home past dinner-time to a hot meal waiting. The crockpot certainly made the meatballs soft, fragile in fact, but no one seemed to mind. The wine mixed into the breadcrumbs was quite strong. My kids are easygoing about flavors and didn’t complain, but I’d leave it out for picky eaters. In order to make the meatballs dairy-free, we subbed 1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast for the Parmesan cheese in the recipe, and I ended up adding two more eggs since the meatballs weren’t holding together well with just one egg. Verdict: Success! Judgement from an Italian grandma aside, this was a fine way to enjoy a meatball dinner despite our busy schedule.

To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook. Peruse past blogs and keep current with new blogs at


I have fond memories of Christmas cookies… I remember rolling dough in powdered sugar with my mom, and my Grandma’s crisp sugar butter cookies are legendary.  Her cookies were even kept in a motion-activated singing tin, because my sister and I were so likely to sneak a sample while we waited for dinner to be ready.

I’ve been thinking about cookies.  There are a few family favorites we bake each year, but I also like to try out some new recipes and flavors.   My little one loves to cook and bake like I do, and she’s been asking when the baking will begin.  Here’s our line-up.

Peanut butter blossoms

We always begin with peanut butter blossoms.  My friend Linda introduced them to us years before kids or gluten were ever a concern.  I was thrilled to find a gluten-free version which comes out just like the original.  Not too much needs to be said about this cookie; Hershey’s kisses and peanut butter speak for themselves.

PB Blossom

The M&M Chocolate Chip Cookie

Even though the chocolate chip cookie is an everyday-cookie that could be passed over, this recipe is so spectacular that they beg to be included.  They get dressed up with red and green M&Ms substituted for half of the chocolate chips, and offer a nice festive color to your cookie tray.

Chocolate Chip

Lemon Shortbread

Lemon cookies are another cookie that we enjoy, and I am looking forward to trying a new cookie this year.  Gluten-Free on a Shoestring shared a shortbread cookie recipe with five different versions including mocha, toffee caramel, and lemon.  Interestingly, the recipe relies on lemonade mix as well as lemon peel; a new method that I look forward to trying.

Lemon Slice

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Snowballs, also known as Mexican Wedding cookies, are up next.  Somehow powdered sugar makes everything prettier. We are trying a new recipe this year.  I’ll put in the disclaimer that I have not tried this recipe yet, but it comes from Gluten Free Girl, who is well-versed in baking with her own books and blog.

The Black and White

Another infamous cookie from my childhood is the black and white.  My dad commuted to the city, and often came off the train with a white, crinkly bag from Zarro’s. You know the one I’m talking about.  I was excited to find this recipe a few years back and delighted when I made my first batch and found they were pretty easy to make and tasted as good as I remembered.  I’m thinking minis, with white and red on some, white and green on others, will make a delicious cameo.

Molasses Crinkle

And finally… to round out all of the chocolate… molasses crinkle cookies.  They’re similar in taste to the gingerbread cookie, but they’re a drop cookie.  This is another one that I used to make before we were gluten-free, and am pleased to see Grandma’s Molasses created a gluten-free version that lives up to the original.  If you’re going to try these, note that although the ingredient list mentions sugar for rolling, the author forgot to mention this as the last step.  Add this back in, as the crunchy sugar on the outside gives the cookie its “crinkle.”

I’m still trying to recreate my Grandma’s butter cookies.  They are sweet, crisp, buttery, and have a texture I’ve not yet been able to replicate in a gluten-free cookie.  I have her recipe, we’ve tweaked it, but it hasn’t come out just right.  We’ll spend some time with the recipe this holiday season; I hope by next year it’ll be ready to share.

Happy Holidays… may your season be filled with fun times, peaceful memories, the best of company, and of course, good food.  To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Feel free to share your favorite gluten-free cookie recipes with us!

Whether you’re gluten-free or gluten-loving, there’s nothing like freshly baked bread.  If you are gluten-free and have experimented in the kitchen, you know that some bread recipes fall, well, flat.  Poorly made gluten-free bread can be crumbly, wet, dense, or taste peculiar.  What’s a sandwich, scone, or pizza loving gal to do?

Enter, Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread.  If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve already heard me sing the praise of this cookbook author, Hunn.  With the addition of her latest release, I am impressed yet again, although with some reservations this time.  Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread offers an impressive collection of recipes, and is written with the passion and sass that we have come to expect from Hunn.  The standards are present, such as sandwich loaves, dinner rolls, and pizza crust, but Hunn goes above and beyond with exciting new favorites and more ambitious treats, such as glazed yeast-raised donuts, Olive Garden-style garlic butter breadsticks, pretzel rolls, even cream puffs.  We’ve tried a number of recipes in our home and have been delighted by all.  Her book begins with custom blends for all-purpose, bread, and pastry flours, which are easily assembled with precise instructions for measuring or weighing ingredients.  Each recipe’s directions are step-by-step and occasionally, you can reference her website for videos of tricky tasks such as rolling out gluten-free pie dough.  The breadth of types of breads in the book is truly impressive, many even with their own dough starters.  With your scale, flour-covered apron, and French rolling pin, you’ll feel like you’re creating something very special.  For a preview of the foods you’ve been dreaming of since becoming gluten free, check out a recent chocolate babka recipe she shared on her blog.  We’re not just making slices of bread here, we’re rediscovering foods we no longer thought possible!

Herb and olive oil Focaccia


Caveat.  Many of the recipes require the dough to be made in advance- with an up-to-24-hour rise in the fridge.  I don’t know about your lifestyle, but mine doesn’t always allow for that kind of planning.  Often we are a, “Crusty bread would go great with this dinner,” kind of family, but most recipes in the book don’t allow for that on-the-fly thinking.  Secondly, there are some specialty ingredients and tools that Hunn has never required before.  Unflavored whey protein isolate and expandex modified tapioca starch, found only online?  I understand why they are used- they help recreate a gluten-esque quality- but gluten-free flours are already expensive enough, and take up enough real estate in my pantry, without having to add another level of specialty items.  Finally, Hunn discusses some pretty fancy equipment that may be helpful- a proofing bucket, dutch oven, and couche, for example.  But unless you are getting ready to open your very own bakery, I am guessing you could make do with traditional tools.



That aside, the recipes in Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread are excellent.  With clear, detailed instructions, you can recreate old and new favorites with ease and success.  Her book stands apart from other gluten-free baking methods because when you follow her recipes, you won’t be quite sure if that freshly baked bread could possibly be gluten free.  Sure, Hunn moved away from her thrifty, grassroots ways and got a little fancy, but with the goal of stepping up the quality and authenticity of the finished product.  Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread is already a go-to classic in my kitchen, and I’m thankful for bloggers such as Hunn who put forth the painstaking effort so that we can maintain our gluten free diets without sacrificing the ability to enjoy focaccia or cinnamon buns once in a while.

To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.

Santa’s almost here, and that means it’s Christmas cookie time. We plan to make our cookies on Monday and Tuesday so they’ll be fresh for Christmas eve. If you’re looking for a recipe for a simple, kid-friendly cookie that the little ones can help create, check out a few of our family’s favorites.

Chocolate Chip

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

I love Alton Brown for his willingness to create a fantastic chocolate chip cookie for the gluten-impaired. I’ve tried many a chocolate chip recipe and I can guarantee you that you will not taste the difference between this cookie and one loaded with gluten. To dress this up for the holidays, I swap out half of the chips for red and green M&Ms. In February, this looks great with Valentine’s M&Ms as well.

PB Blossom

The Peanut Butter Blossom Cookie

Ever since my friend Linda gave us a tin of cookies including peanut butter blossom cookies, I’ve equated these with Christmas. Many recipes for these cookies are floating around, but making them gluten-free can be tricky (they tend to get too dry). Thankfully, my hero Nicole at Gluten-Free on a Shoestring has mastered this recipe (and so many others) and recently shared it in time for the holidays.

Lemon Slice

The Lemon Slice Cookie

Before becoming gluten free, a bunch of friends and I would participate in a holiday cookie swap. One year my friend Kelly brought over this incredible lemon cookie– light, crunchy, slightly chewy, and delicate. Like a sugar cookie that married a lemon cookie and had a precious little lovechild. I was determined not to say goodbye to this cookie due to dietary limitations, and fortunately found a similar recipe, again at Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. Not bad! And if you want to dress these babies up a little fancier, I love the drizzle and silver-sugar-sparkle idea here. I think we’ll try that this year, if I can get back out to the store for silver sparkles. Well, the edible kind, that is. We have plenty of silver sparkles in our house, but not the kind you’d want on your cookies.

To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook. Happy baking, and have a wonderful holiday season!

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